Craig Foster: The Perils Of Working Overtime

August 16, 2016
Director, Craig Foster, chats about his short, Overtime, which is screening at The CinefestOZ Film Festival.

In the horror-comedy short, Overtime, a hapless werewolf (Aaron Glenane) needs to get home from work before the rising full moon turns him into a ravening monster.

What’s your background? Give us a potted history of your good self. “I never went to film school. I studied computer science and engineering at university but I always loved film. During my uni days I got involved in campus theatre – I made short comedy videos to go in between stage sketches. They were essentially YouTube videos, but before YouTube existed – you know, pop culture parodies etc. That’s where I learned my ass from my elbow – that and the Appendices on the Extended Lord Of The Rings DVDs, which were amazing – that was my film school. Then many years later, after the GFC ended my cushy software job, I decided to really give filmmaking a go. At the same time my partner Emma McKenna (wife, co-producer, co-writer and editor) got into AFTRS as an editor and I just spent as much time as I could on set whilst also writing and developing my own projects. Overtime is the third short film we’ve made since then.”

What inspired you to make this film? Were you drawing on any particular cinematic influences? “The idea itself wasn’t inspired by anything in particular, we had werewolves on the brain and it came together after a night of brainstorming. I think it’s the neatest and most fun idea that we’ve ever had. Neat in the sense that it was really easy to see what kind of film it could be and how it had the potential to be a real crowd pleaser. As we developed the project our key influences were Edgar Wright, Sam Raimi and this old Jack Nicholson movie called Wolf that had a rather original take on the myth. Wright became the major influence for the tone and style of the film.”

Were you concerned with dealing with a monster that is, traditionally hard to pull off effectively on a low budget? “Ha ha – YES! From the beginning we knew that was going to be a major challenge and a lot of decisions were made with that in mind. Most big werewolf films give you this terrific, gory transformation scene that stretches the limits of prosthetics. We knew we couldn’t have that, so we opted instead for a ‘stages’ approach. Every time you see Ralph in the film, even in the early scenes, he looks a little different, his transformation is gradual over the picture – obviously ramping up towards the end. This actually worked really well with the narrative. We also opted for a wolf-man look rather than a full quadrupedal transformation. But even so, what we wanted to do was quite difficult and we knew all along it was going to be a big hairy chunk in the budget. So we just set out to find the best people we could and were ready to bargain and beg. We were very lucky to get Odd Studio on board – they are the best in the business.”

Tell us about the special effects and makeup employed in the film. “As I was saying, Ralph’s transformation is done in stages. I don’t want to spoil too much but by the end he has facial prosthetics, new hair, claws, teeth and eyes, but you can still see the essence of the character in there. We also bulked him up with a muscle suit. Aaron had to see the Odd Studio boys about a month in advance to have a cast made of his face and then they would send me design mockups in photoshop for approval that would guide the sculpting of the prosthetics. It’s hard to describe how much fun that was. When we did the first full make-up test I was as excited as a little girl at Disneyland. We also had some gore prosthetics and blood effects to complete the package.”

What’s the reaction been like so far? “So far the response has been overwhelming. People have really been responding to it. Quite a few people have commented that it’s very relatable, as most people have had the experience of needing to get somewhere very urgently, but have been held up at every turn – I think that frustration is universal and funny.”

What’s up next for you? “Emma and I really want to move on to do a feature next. We feel ready – at least as ready as we’ll ever be. We’ve got a few ideas on the boil.”

Overtime plays at The CinefestOZ Film Festival, which runs from August 24-28. To buy tickets to Overtime, head to the official site.

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